Case Studies


Picture of Foldit game

Foldit is a game designed at the University of Washington in which people fold proteins. This is important in understanding how human DNA and RNA are structured. A specific type of DNA that scientists have been trying to sequence for 15 years in the fight against HIV and AIDS was sequence by 46,000 people playing Foldit in ten days. Half of the people that contributed were not in the science field (Zichermann, 2012).

Tim Vandenburg and Monopoly

Picture of Tim Vandenberg and students

Tim Vandenberg unleashed a revolution based on the game Monopoly. His school offers a special enrichment program, which he runs, that allowed the top math students to play monopoly with Mr. Vandenberg in the last month of school. He modified the board to create many opportunities for learning. He teaches his student, probability, negotiation, collaboration, economics, etc. Over the past 4 years, he has gotten 40 of his students to rank at the top of California’s math test. They went from scoring zero to a number of students scoring 100%.

Third grade teacher, Ananth Pai

Picture of Ananth Pai and student

Ananth Pai is a third-grade elementary school teacher who was assigned a failing class. He taught in a traditional manner but gave his students off the shelf educational games. He used the games to replace books to help his students learn reading and math. In eighteen weeks, the third-grade students went from failing in math and reading to being at the top of the fourth grade in reading and math.

Charlie Kim of Nextjump

Picture of NextJump employees

Charlie Kim, CEO of Nextjump (100 million dollar company, 12 years old) loves to exercise and he wants all his employees to work out. He opened a free gym in all four of his office locations. Three to four percent of his employees took advantage. Charlie offered $20,000 prize for the top five to six employees that worked out the most—they will split the $20,000 at the end of the year. The number of employees who worked out three or more times per week went up to 12%. Feeling he could do better to motivate his employees, Charlie allowed the employees to work in teams, and he introduced a leader board so employees can compare their score to other teams. Today 80% of Nextjump employees work out on a regular basis (Zichermann, 2012).

Instant employee review process

Picture of Rypple mobile app

Instead of the annual review process, companies, Rypple and Due Prop, created a mobile app that allows co-workers, superiors, and subordinates to give instant feedback after helping with a report, helping with a project, etc. This app accumulates a huge amount of data that tracks each time an employee excels at something. Saleforce purchased Rypple after being in business for a little over a year (Zichermann, 2012).